Five-year-old Alex King (left) with his older brother Theo (right).
When Bayard King’s son Theo was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at the age of five, he and his wife Anne embarked on a mission— as most parents in their situation do—to learn as much as they could about T1D, and contribute to the search for a cure. As part of their efforts, the King family has helped raise money for T1D research through JDRF’s Walk to Cure Diabetes in Manhattan.
Yet the King family didn’t stop there. Determined to aid in the latest diabetes research efforts, they enrolled Theo’s younger brother Alex in a clinical trial at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, called the NIH TrialNet Pathways to Prevention Study.
TrialNet is an international network of clinical investigators studying ways to prevent and ultimately cure T1D. The Pathways to Prevention Study is designed to identify the risk of T1D in relatives of T1D patients with a goal of preventing T1D in the future.
A few months into the study, four-year-old Alex tested positive for four of five pancreatic autoantibodies or markers that indicate that the autoimmune process that causes T1D may have already started.
“Of course, no parent wants to hear the news that their second child is at high risk for developing T1D,” says Bayard, “but to beat this disease you have to be practical, diligent, and face it head on.”
And that’s exactly what the King family is doing by enrolling Alex in another component of the TrialNet study called the Oral Insulin Trial. This study is examining the effect of oral insulin on the prevention of T1D in antibody-positive pre-diabetic relatives of patients with T1D, like Alex.
The study will provide data indicating whether oral insulin can effectively prevent T1D, but even if the study is negative, Bayard says he will be content knowing they contributed to the advancement of T1D science.
“We want to fight this disease, if not just for Alex and Theo’s sake, but for the sake of the whole community,” says Bayard. “And every day I open that pill and give it to my son, I feel like I’m fighting.”
A diagnosis of T1D at any age—whether for you or a family member—can feel scary, overwhelming, and confusing. Luckily, JDRF is here to help you navigate life after diagnosis. Through our many community outreach programs we can help you transition from overwhelmed and confused to educated, engaged, and ultimately, empowered.